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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Easy With a Twist: Cloth Napkins With Mitered Corners

Cloth napkins--cute up your meals while being environmentally conscientious (okay, less paper waste anyway; water is still being used for laundering unless you just never wash them. . . . )  And, best of all, they're a relatively easy sewing project.  This fabric is, of course, Lotta Jansdotter again; I'm obsessed. 
I like my napkins 20" square or thereabouts, which means 21" x 21" if you're using a half inch seam allowance.  This is a great time to throw out the ruler and test your eyeballing-it abilities.  Your iron, ironing board, sewing machine, and scissors are all you really need.  And a seam guide if you want to keep things neat.
You can go the quick and dirty route of a double-folded hem all around--overlapping the corners.  Or, if you want to fancy things up a bit, consider trying out a mitered corner (pictured above).  This technique is beautifully illustrated in The Sewing Bible by Ruth Singer

Here's my mitering breakdown:

1.  Iron a double-folded hem.

2.  Do it again.  (And if you want to stop here, just sew a line all around as close to the edge of the fold as you can.)
3.  Fold down a corner like you're dog-earring the page of a book. Iron. [Picture of this step to be uploaded in the next day or two.]

4.  Now, open the corner back up and fold the two adjacent sides together.  See the nifty little line that you made in #3? 

5.  Sew right on that line.  Trim the seam allowance to just about an eighth of an inch from the hem.

6.  Open it up, push the point out, and now sew down the seam as close to the folded edge as possible.  Et voila!!!


  1. You do such beautiful work. Your attention to detail is amazing. (And I'm loving the cell phone case you sewed for me, by the way. It's perfect!) I'd love for you to show me how you sew a mitered corner next time we get together. I'm currently making a tablecloth and may like to make some coordinating napkins to go with it, so knowing how to sew a mitered corner would come in handy for me. I'm not sure I understand completely by looking at the photos.

  2. Lois, I bought the Sewing Bible as you recommended, but haven't sewn recently. Betty has been visiting this past week and we've been busy. I still plan to try to figure out how to do these, and maybe by the next time you visit I will have done them or you can give me some tips and help me out a bit.